Press Release

UNHCR and ITC join efforts to support the economic empowerment of refugees and host communities in Iraq

30 April 2024

Erbil, Iraq, 30 April 2024 - UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the International Trade Centre (ITC), joint agency of UN and World Trade Organization fully dedicated to supporting small businesses in developing countries to trade, enter into a groundbreaking partnership to facilitate the socio-economic integration of refugee and local community members in Iraq.

This partnership establishes a comprehensive framework under which ITC and UNHCR will collaborate to promote inclusive economic growth and self-reliance among refugees and local communities. The joint efforts are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF), the Iraq Government Vision 2030 and National Development Plans that all seek to expand income opportunities leaving no one behind and thus fight against poverty. 

ITC and UNHCR will strengthen and expand their ongoing joint work, placing a special focus on interventions that aim to advance inclusive and profitable economic opportunities in the agricultural sector and other promising sectors for Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), considering the specific needs of refugees and asylum seekers, their legal status and protection needs. 

The two entities will also work together to strengthen agribusiness competitiveness in refugee hosting areas; and in forging and implementing strategies to champion and augment inclusive economic empowerment of youth and women in Iraq. 

Eric Buchot, Representative, Head of ITC Country Programme in Iraq, and Jean-Nicolas Beuze, UNHCR Representative to Iraq signed the letter of intent. 

Emphasizing the strategic importance of the collaboration, Eric Buchot said, “ITC and UNHCR partnership showcases the importance of inclusive economic opportunities for refugees' self-reliance, integration, social stability, and long-term solutions to displacement. Supporting refugees' economic inclusion is not only a matter of humanitarian assistance but also a strategic investment in sustainable development and peacebuilding.”

“Our collaboration with the ITC will enhance socio-economic integration for refugees and Iraqis. Together, our goal is to create better job opportunities, particularly in agriculture, and prioritize trainings to give more chances to refugees and Iraqis to access these jobs. Refugees want to become economically self-reliant and they want to contribute to the local economy so as not to be a burden on anyone. For UNHCR, it is equally important that Iraqis, particularly Kurdish, be equally supported so that everyone benefits from these initiatives. ITC brings its expertise in job creation and we bring our knowledge on how to involve communities, especially those displaced. Together we can win the challenge of developing local economies to the benefit of all,” said Jean-Nicolas Beuze, UNHCR Representative to Iraq.

This collaboration marks a significant step towards fostering economic self-reliance among refugees in Iraq.


External Engagement
Waqas Rafique

Waqas Rafique

Public Information Officer

UN entities involved in this initiative

International Trade Centre
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Goals we are supporting through this initiative